The first meeting of the stakeholders of the National Initiative against Organized Crime (NIOC)
The first meeting of the stakeholders of the National Initiative against Organized Crime (NIOC) Pakistan was held on November 22, 2019 in Islamabad Club.
The meeting was moderated by the Director NIOC and former DG FIA, Mr. Tariq Khosa. He briefed the members about the background, goals and objectives of the Initiative. He recapped the discussion points of 1st meeting of the NIOC Advisory Board held on November 09, 2019. He briefly discussed the following four broad categories of crimes to be addressed under this project:
- Terror Financing
- Drug Trafficking
- Human Trafficking
- Cyber Crimes
Mr. Khosa emphasized that, under this initiative, in the coming months, a team of champions of change will be built who will take this cause forward. He told the members that NIOC will engage investigative journalists, civil society members, intellectuals, and engage competent researchers to streamline the work of this platform.
Mr. Mooed Yousaf explained the role of SPPC. He informed the board that SPCC is required to do long term strategic policy planning for Pakistan’s national security. The four categories of organized crime focused by this forum come under the policy purview of SPPC. He emphasized that we need to redefine how we look at security in Pakistan by prioritizing human security, financial security etc. with the traditional security. He informed that SPPC will constitute a Council of Experts wherein each priority area will be having a working group that will provide evidence-based policy inputs to the SPPC. He asserted that it is important that policies are complemented by action plans to ensure sustained change.
Mr. Akhtar Ali Shah, former IGP KP, opined that our departments are lacking in expertise. Therefore, basic focus should be laid on the capacity building of our departments and LEAs. He also argued that our counter terrorism strategy was more on investigating the acts of terror rather than investigating its financing. He suggested that it is important that we identify the channels of terror financing.
Mr. Sabino S Jalal, JS Narcotics Control Division opined that although Pakistan is a transit country, it still has synthetic drugs production at domestic level. These syntenic drugs are destroying our young generation very swiftly. He mentioned that dark web and crypto currencies have complicated the job for LEAs. He also suggested that regime change in treatment of drug addicts is needed.
Mr. Jeremy Milsom, Country Representative UNODC, apprised the meeting that UNODC is working extensively in all these four categories of organized crime. According to him, main challenge in addressing these issues is identifying the gaps in the system. He agreed with the argument of low capacity of LEAs and relevant departments in countering the organized crimes in Pakistan and informed that UNODC has been providing technical support and trainings to enhance the capacity of the departments. He also informed the participants that UNODC is assisting the government in complying with FATF recommendations to get out of the grey list. Mr. Saqib Khan from UNODC highlighted the lack of coordination among different agencies as policy gap in countering organized crimes in Pakistan.
SSP Umer Riaz from Police Services asserted the need for being proactive in assessing and anticipating the extent of risk that organized crimes poses to Pakistan. He argued that we must narrow down the issues in terror financing, underlining data as a key instrument in this process.
SSP Farhan Zahid termed the lack of will as a major impediment in policy implementation. He said that his area of expertise is Counter Terrorism and offered to assist the forum in that capacity.
Mr. Mujeebur Rehman, Additional DG FIA, informed that he can share his expertise and strategic advice on all these four aspects of organized crimes.
Dr Syed Ejaz Hussain from National Police Bureau (NPB) apprised the board that NBP, as a coordinating agency, is responsible for the training of LEAs. He offered to facilitate the forum in the training sector. He also generously offered the board that NPB’s headquarter can be used for holding NIOC meetings in the future. He was of the opinion that understanding the patterns of crime is important and NPB can undertake a preliminary mapping of the four categories of organized crime.
Mr. Fasih Zaka informed the board that he will be looking at the cyber-crime aspect of the project. He briefed them about understanding Pakistan’s tele-density, dynamics of crypto currency and data analysis of cyber-crime.
Mr. Zahid Hussain opined that there are linkages among all these four aspects of organized crimes. He asserted the need for focusing on cross border crimes. He advised to go for sources and patronage in human trafficking in order to chalk out effective policy solutions.
Mr. Zubair Habib asserted the need for building trust with other countries, especially in Human Trafficking aspect. He told that board that he’s looking forward to working on the action plans of this initiative.
Mr. Fiaz Khan Toru posited that border management should be prioritized in the discussions of this forum. He argued that our past experiences of border management should serve as an example of how porous and poorly managed borders can give rise to organized crimes in Pakistan. He also suggested that the forum should address the issue of cross border terrorism as well.
Mr. Amir Rana, Director PIPS, thanked all the guests and board members for their participation in the meeting. He also offered the guests to contribute to the NIOC strategy paper.
- In the next five months, the forum will come up with a National Strategy Paper to counter the four specified aspects of organized crime in Pakistan
- Umer Riaz and Mr. Farhan Zahid will be engaged for research work with the permission of their heads of the department.
- Monthly Newsletter will be issued and the website of the forum will be developed by PIPS
- Upcoming meeting of the board will be held at NPB head quarter as per offer of Dr. Ijaz Hussain
- The forum will hire competent researchers and engage investigative journalists to work on the National Strategy Paper for countering specific organized crimes.
- Tariq Khosa (Director NIOC)
- Zahid Hussain (Member AB)
- Fasih Zaka (Member AB)
- Dr Moeed Yousaf (Chairman SPPC)
- Syed Ejaz Hussain (DG NPB)
- Fiaz Toru (Member AB)
- Amir Rana (Secretary NIOC, Director PIPS)
- Dr Farhan Zahid, SSP
- Sabino S Jalal (Joint Secretary, Narcotics Control)
- Syed Akhtar Ali Shah (Former IGP KP)
- Zubair Habib (CPLC)
- Dr Farhan Zahid, SSP
- Jeremy Milsom (UNODC, Country Representative)
- Saqib Khan (UNODC, Programme Officer)
- Umar Riaz (NPA, Director)
- Mujeeb Ur Rahman Khan (FIA, Additional DG HQ)
- Ahsan Hamid Durrani (PIPS, Manager Projects)
- Hassan Sardar (PIPS, Manager Admin & Finance)